Polesworth Baptist Church

   

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Pastor Nick Nicholas

Pastor's Page

December, 2018


Dear Friends

Let me share a true life story. I know it’s true for it’s about something that happened to me, in the last week of November 2018 But it begins some while before then when I went to this year’s Baptist Union regional minister’s meeting. One of the speakers was the Pastor of the Beacon International Church in Stafford, who spoke of how that church has grown into four different communities with six main meetings!

But what intrigued me was that he was building on the work of a previous woman minister, through whom God had grown the church from 20+ to over 100. I wanted to hear how the church had initially grown. It took a while – due to all the usual overloads of life - but Alex was able to let the previous Pastor, Elaine, know of my interest, and she emailed me saying: Dear Nick, How interesting that I should get an email from Alex telling me that you’re enquiring about how the Beacon began, just after I found my notes about it all! Therefore I’d love to meet and chat. I call that a God-incidence.

We were able to meet up on the 22nd November. Her first advice was: Get the basics right. Become a people who read through the Bible. Set up Prayer groups. Implement Matthew 21:13 “My house will be called a house of prayer.” Prioritise prayer before activity. Pray and Fast. Fasting’s always been a challenge to me. Ah, she said you don’t have to fast from food. She fasted from TV for a year. And from buying new clothes. And see if there are 1 or 2 others who would join you in prayer and fasting – you don’t have to share what your fast is. Be totally reliant on the Holy Spirit. There’s more but let’s stay with these three: Read the Bible. Become a people of Prayer. Rely on the Holy Spirit.

Her advice stayed with me. But, as ever, when you are refreshed in God there always comes a challenge. Mine came the next week. I saw that the church has failed to help people to pray, failed to help people to grow in the confidence to pray, failed to help people trust in a God who loves to answer prayer. Realising my part in those failures I was driven to repent. And to ask for the strength to avoid the temptation to think: it all depends on me. It doesn’t. It depends on God. So I also prayed for help to step out of God’s way and not be a block to his action.

Come the Wednesday morning, the 28th, I decided to arrange the Church chairs for the AGM. I thought it would be good to sing from the Songs of Fellowship books. But I couldn’t find enough of them under the seats, and went to gather more from the porch book case. And there, pulled out with the song books came a book called: “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire.” by Jim Cymbala. I’ve never heard of him. I don’t know who put it there, but thank you, and the Lord for leading me to it.

Cymbala knew himself to be a failure as a minister. He was confounded by obstacles, bewildered by the [spiritual] darkness that surrounded his church, and unable even to continue preaching – he had a breakdown in the pulpit. But through that he found that “God is attracted by weakness. He can’t resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need Him. Our weakness makes room for His power.”

He also knew that what he and the church needed was the Holy Spirit. Only the fresh wind, the fresh fire of the Spirit could transform the desperate lives of the people around them. Lives given to alcohol, drugs and illicit sex. He despaired at the thought that his life might slip by without seeing God show Himself mightily on their behalf. Then he became sick with a cough that would not go away.

He was able to stay with his in-laws in Florida. One day he went on a party fishing boat. He had a fishing rod but his mind wasn’t on fishing. He thought of all the church growth strategies he could try to use. But he knew that the Holy Spirit was the real need. It was that or bust. Then he prayed his own prayer of confession. “I don’t know how to be a successful pastor [he hadn’t even been trained] … we are working in the middle of New York City, with people dying on every side, over-dosing … consumed by materialism … If the gospel is so powerful….” Then he cried. He was glad that no one on the boat saw his sorrow.

“Then quietly but forcefully, in words heard not with my ear but deep within my spirit, I sensed God speaking:“If you and your wife will lead my people to pray and call upon my name, you will never lack for something fresh to preach. I will supply all the money that’s needed, both for the church and for your family [he wasn’t paid and had to scrape for money], and you will never have a building large enough to contain the crowds I will send in response.”

Finding this book and coming to this story was another God-incidence: a word from God, out of time and space into my/our situation. And an affirmation of all that Elaine had said about prayer. Cymbala returned to his church inviting his people “to call upon the Lord who has promised in His Word to answer, to bring the unsaved to Himself, to pour out His Spirit among us.” And in “the weeks that followed, answers to prayer became noticeable. New people gradually joined, with talents and skill that could help us. Unsaved relatives and total strangers began to show up.”

I want that. And I believe God wants it also and that He is willing to do it. But He will only do it when a church reliant on Him in prayer – prayer that trusts He will act for His people as His people seek His Kingdom. A people whose prayer concern is not getting the words right but their hearts right, not struggling to use ‘holy’ language, or fluent speech or to make long lists but simply humbly seeking to meet the Lord of life.

May people in every church meet to encounter God for the saving of their community, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord, for the glory of God our Father. Amen. Nick

Steve





 
Polesworth Baptist Church
The Gullet, Polesworth, Warwickshire, B78 1HH
Telephone The Minister: 01827 912821
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Updated December 11th, 2018
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